Friday, October 31, 2014

Products We Love - Better Life all natural cleaners (Giveaway)

Better Life natural cleaners

Cleaning isn't all that fun. Are you with me? I take it there are people who enjoy cleaning, but I'm not one of them. But I do like a clean and shiny house. (And once in a while it even happens.) What helps to motivate me is having products at the ready that are pleasant to use, safe for my family and the environment and effective at doing the task at hand.

Recently, Better Life brought its range of natural cleaning products to all 130 Canadian Target stores. So, while I'm shopping for great non-leather, size 11 (yay!) boots and shoes at Target, I can also choose from among 12 beautifully packaged Better Life cleaning products for my home.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vegan Ginger Chocolate Chip Scones

Vegan Ginger Chocolate Chip Scones - with a warming hint of ginger and a handful of delicious, gooey chocolate chips. #vegan #ginger #scones

Sweet or savoury, dropped or cut into triangles, life just wouldn't be the same without scones. Sometimes I wake up with a craving for scones - just open my eyes and think "scones." I guess that's the Scottish in me?

Fortunately, scones are super quick and easy to whip together. And, despite what you might think, scones don't need butter or milk to be supremely tasty. Take these Vegan Ginger Chocolate Chip Scones. They are completely free of dairy, but with all the warm delicious goodness a scone should have.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

I am holding off on turning on the furnace for as long as I can. I find it so drying to my skin. We are making ample use of the fireplace in the meantime, but I confess it's sometimes a wee bit chilly around here.

Making soup, stew, chili and fresh warm baked goods helps. I predict that Isa Does It is going to help me get through the winter. There are so many great recipes for cozy-looking vegan comfort foods. Like this Down-Home Curry With Tofu & Broccoli, above. As Isa says in the intro to the recipe, it's "a homey, filling, stick-to-your-ribs meal that's easy enough to throw together anytime the feeling strikes you." I could go for some of those savoury tofu chunks right about now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Some Pyrex, a Picture & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #7

Not much thrift store shopping around here recently. I had hoped to pop into a couple of thrift stores yesterday to look for more little plates for my food photographs. But the kids were home for a PA Day and I had promised to take my little girl shopping to spend her birthday money. Between the five or so stores she wanted to go to and a couple of stops for groceries, we were gone about six hours. Then I was too tired to go to the thrift stores. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that I did, however, make an apple pie. But that's another story.

Today I'm sharing a look at the vintage Pyrex storage containers my mom gave me recently. I am always looking for more food storage. I like my dry goods to be in glass or plastic containers so I can see what I've got in the pantry and hopefully not waste anything. I put vegan protein powder in the larger of the two containers. We usually put it in the cupboard and forget to use it. Then it expires...which is a shame...because it's something like 50 bucks a jar! I put red lentils in the smaller container (another food item I tend to forget about - sometimes, if I'm good, I'll throw a handful in pasta sauce, because the kids hardly notice it and it adds extra nutrients).

Friday, October 24, 2014

Banana Ginger Medjool Date Mini Loaves

I'm really excited to share this recipe for Banana Ginger Medjool Date Mini Loaves with you. Why? Because I previously bragged about creating The Best Banana Bread Ever. But guess what? I like this new recipe even better! A little bit of ginger, a handful of sweet and tasty Medjool dates and some on-trend coconut oil make these deceptively simple-looking little loaves into a whole bunch of banana deliciousness.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vamping It Up This Fall With Wantable

According to the insert that came with my September Wantable box, fall is the time to "vamp it up" and "unleash your inner bad girl." Only when it comes to accessories of course! So pair your cozy fall sweaters with "vampy and bold" accessories to liven them up a bit. And bring out those colourful scarves that have been waiting patiently all summer.

I love the accessories included in my Wantable box this month. Cate & Chloe is the featured brand, and I received a gorgeous Cate & Chloe Laurel Leaf necklace. This silver-tone piece is very light and delicate with a long chain. I also got the Jayden gunmetal stretch ring, which features delicate beading. Wantable suggests pairing it with a glitter party nail. Fyi, I get lots of stretch rings from Wantable because I listed that as a preference. I'm too afraid that regular rings won't fit my big fingers!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

I'm keeping it short and sweet this What I Ate Wednesday. I had planned to share a look at everything I ate on Monday, but we ended up going shopping for my son's school project in the evening. Which meant grabbing a veggie burger, fries and a pop at Harvey's. And then a stomach ache for the rest of the night (from the bubbly pop). And no photo. Just quick and greedy consumption of the aforementioned take-out meal!

But I did get a photo of my breakfast, above. My husband made a quick spelt bread in the breadmaker the night before. I had the very last slice that was left of it the next morning, topped with peanut butter and jam. I also had a couple of slices of the Banana Ginger Medjool Date Mini Loaves that I made on the weekend. The recipe is for an upcoming post. You will want to get this recipe. Not to brag, but these ordinary-looking little slices are incredibly delicious and moist.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Vintage Cheese Board & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #6

This vintage wooden cheese board with a plastic lid is another little goodie I picked up at my parents' house on Thanksgiving weekend. Also on that weekend, I went for a little stroll down the road and collected a few pine cones and acorns that had dropped into the grass next to a cute little cottage that was all shut tight for the winter.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Coconut Cherry Chocolate Chia Bars

I love to bake all year round, but baking in fall is an absolute necessity. When it's chilly outside (or even when it's not!), we need to indulge ourselves as often as possible with a hot cuppa coffee, tea or chocolate and a warm baked good.

My preference is for vegan baked goods that whip up quick and easy (so they get in my mouth faster). One of my favourite dessert recipes is my luscious and "buttery" berry oat bars. Because they are so delectable, I recently decided to make a variation of them, using a similar base/topping, but with coconut oil instead of margarine and the addition of shredded coconut and ground chia seeds.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Peachy Keen Almond Milk Smoothie

We all know by now that smoothies are a really effective way of getting nutritious foods and beverages condensed into one healthy little meal that's perfect for folks on the run. This makes smoothies an optimum breakfast or snack for kids, parents and grandparents alike.

I don't keep any regular, dairy-based milk in the house. And we eat soy foods (like tofu and tempeh) regularly, so I generally don't put soy beverages in our smoothies. My preferred "milk" for smoothies (and cereals and granola) is almond milk. So when I was asked to create a recipe using Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, it was a natural fit.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday and Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen (Book Review)

When I took a look back through my food photos this week, I noted that many of them reflected recipes I had made from Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics. So I decided I had better just combine my review of this amazing new cookbook with my What I Ate Wednesday post.

My love affair with Italian food began when I met my husband-to-be back in high school. More specifically, when I met his Italian mother. She introduced me to homemade gnocchi, fresh lasagna, canning of tomatoes and pasta of all shapes and sizes. If eating pasta is wrong, I don't wanna be right!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vintage Ashtrays & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #5

While visiting my parents for Thanksgiving this past weekend, I took a little trip in the basement with Mom to see if there were any thrifty goods that I had not yet carried away to my house. It's pretty picked over, but Mom and I came up with this collection of vintage ashtrays.

Neither one of my parents smoked when I was growing up, but my mom explains, "You had to have an ashtray to offer to your guests!" Boy how things have changed. I hardly even know anybody who smokes. And many people who do smoke must do so in the garage or on the porch. Not something you want to do in Ontario in winter, in my opinion.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Gifts for Her: DK's Winter Knits Made Easy

As much as I hate (hate, hate) to admit it, winter isn't that far away. So, when I was asked to pick a book from DK Canada's gift boutique, I went with a book that promises to help make winter more cozy, more fun, more tolerable.

DK's Winter Knits Made Easy features 40 patterns for lovely, warm knits to keep everybody in the family toasty this winter. Hats, sweaters, scarves, socks, blankets - all the items that are needed to keep man, woman and child warm inside and outside of the house.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mom's 80th Birthday Party #NikonMOMents

My mom doesn't like being the centre of attention. And she certainly doesn't like having her picture taken. So, a couple of months ago. when I asked her, "What do you suppose the subject of my next Nikon MOMents post is going to be?" she answered with a bit of trepidation, "My birthday party?" You guessed correct, Mama!

Luckily, Mom will do anything to support her "baby." (I'm the youngest of three.) Mom turned 80 in September and we celebrated with a small family gathering at my brother's house. Mom urged me not to invite too many people (there's that centre of attention issue again).

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

It's that (rather depressing) time of year when it becomes difficult to take evening food photos. I have been making dinner a little later than usual and it's near dark by the time dinner is on the table. I have actually gone out on the deck a couple of times to get a bit of the last remaining light into my shots.

Anyway...Happy Wednesday! Here's a (partial) look at what I've been eating this week. I had Nature's Path hemp waffles for breakfast one day, with vegan margarine and maple syrup. Simple and yummy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Thanksgiving Table Setting & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #4

Our Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend. I'm not hosting, but I thought I would play around with table settings to get us all in a Thanksgiving mood on this Vintage Bliss Tuesday. I challenged myself to set the table using only items that I already had lying around the house. I even clipped a few yellow flowers from the last holdouts in my outdoor flower boxes.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Monster High Birthday Party (and a giveaway - CLOSED)

Unbelievably, my little girl is almost 10. My youngest child, a full decade old! I have trouble accepting that she is no longer my chubby-cheeked, sweet Gerber baby. But she is something just as great - a unique, friendly, happy, social being who brings sunshine wherever she goes.

We celebrated her birthday a bit early to coincide with a special arrival in the mail - a pre-release copy of the Monster High Freaky Fusion DVD. Watching this movie proved to be the perfect activity for my little gal's birthday, because it's all about teamwork, the power of friendship, individuality and acceptance of others. In other words, we are all perfectly imperfect and freaky fabulous.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

Is anyone else stunned that it's October? Where did September go? It was such a busy month I barely had time to notice its passing. But the weather was often lovely and we celebrated a couple of significant family birthdays. So I'm grateful for that.

Despite the fact that it's What I Ate Wednesday, I'm starting off with a photo of a drink. Because it was just sooo good. My husband gave me this Stirrings Simple Mojito mixer a while back. While cooking dinner on Friday, I decided it was time to finally give it a try. Especially since the fresh mint on our back deck was on its last legs. Anyway, it was a fabulous drink. Maybe too fabulous.

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